Thinking about UFOs

Facebook had a new look yesterday and instead of updating what you are doing, they want you to say what you are thinking about. I have to say that I am thinking about UFOs today. I am thinking about UFOs for a number of reasons:

  1. The Tarts is a UFO and I am slowly plowing my way through that project. I made a bit of progress over the past few nights and will give you an update on that soon.
  2. I have been catching up with Annie Smith’s podcast and she has one about UFOs. Her 2/11/2008 podcast (I know I am really behind!) gives some good ideas about identifying your UFOs and getting them done. She was inspired by Nadine Ruggles’ podcast episode on her short lived (but still available on iTunes) podcast, Driven to Quilt.
  3. Nadine Ruggles podcast episode #7 from 9/4/2006. Nadine comes across as a really smart person; her podcast was professionally done. I liked the high level how-to aspect of her podcast. I respect her decision not to continue, but it is a huge loss for those of us who listened to it. Sadly, her Driven to Quilt website is no longer available, even using my secret librarian tricks, but you can still find Nadine online at Dreamweaver’s Quilts. She has a totally cool website and blog. Very innovative layout. One thing I really like about the site is the Daily Stitch. It is like a daily calendar for quiltmaking. Update 3/15/2009:  The Driven to Quilt website is back in operation

I am pretty upfront about my UFOs with myself. I find that knowing what I need to finish is much better than hiding them away. It also helps me keep track of my frustrations with projects, so I can work through them and not relive them when I go back to the project. You can read about last year’s progress and non-progress in the 2008 UFO Report. Annie created a spreadsheet with over 60 UFOs on it. I am pleased to say that I don’t have that many.

The biggest problem I found with not finishing a project right away is that I lose my train of thought, or my style changes enough where I am no longer enthused about the colors or fabrics. That was a big lesson that I learned in pulling the Tarts out again.

I am goal oriented and really do want to finish my projects. As I have mentioned, I am trying to be more process oriented. I am getting better, but I still want to finish my projects or get rid of them. I did abandon some last year and am ok with that. They will be loved by someone else. I am thrilled that one of my UFOs is off the UFO list (Nosegay). I am also on the homestretch of sewing on the Eye Spy binding. I have to do the handstitching on the Crazy Test binding and I have the directions ready to go for facing the Pamela Allen House and Garden quilt-let. I’d like to get that one done before I take yet another workshop with her next month. If I can truly stay focused, including the Tarts, I will have four projects that I can say are done at the end of the year. That means four projects off my UFO list! Time will tell.

I know that finishing a bunch of UFOs, one after another, is not for me. I think that I need to intersperse the work with new projects. You saw my idea list in the 2008 Roundup!

I found a list of ideas/plan for getting your UFOs done at Suite 101. The article, from January 1, 2009, is by Christine Mann and called 6 Steps to Finishing your UFOs. It sounds a lot like the way I plan my projects at work and I don’t bring work home! However, you may be able to use the ideas.

One thing I think is important is to be at peace with your quilt work. If you don’t have UFOs, fine.  If you have UFOs, fine. If you never finish them, fine. If you finish them, fine. Do what works for you.   For me, I think it is important for me  to take something away from finished and unfinished works – a lesson or experience of some kind. I can’t tell you what your lesson is. I will, however, think about (and probably report back on) the lessons from my own UFOs.

I had a tough week. If Daylight Savings Time wasn’t bad enough, I also injured my shoulder on Wednesday. This means MUCH less computing. Computing is also taking me longer, because I am mousing with my left hand. I’ll do my best to keep up! This is a short post, but, hopefully, interesting. I would love to hear your comments about your UFOs, especially what you think about Yoda’s comment to Luke from The Empire Strikes Back “Do, or do not. There is no try”.

As the UFOs Turn

As you can see from my previous blog posts, I have been sewing and making progress. Still, these seem to be new projects, so I thought I would inventory my UFOs and see what I was facing. One year (1996, I think) I buckled down and worked only on UFOs and finished 9 quilts. That was a record. Most, if not all, were already started and I didn’t quilt them all, but causing them to be quilted counts for something in my book.

This list in no way implies that I will discontinue starting new projects or finish any of these.

Here is my list of UFOs. You can see many of them over at

  • Bullseye: finally found directions for doing the border the way I want it. Just need to do it
  • Garden from Pamela Allen class
  • He Tried to Make it Up to Her: needs back and to be quilted. St. JCN has to dig it out.
  • Her Eyes were Bigger than Her Stomach: needs a back and to be quilted. Very active quilt; probably not my best design, but a mile marker in the quiltmaking journey.
  • Kissy Fish: ongoing hand beading project
  • Leaf quilt: needs something that I don’t have; candidate for abandonment; sad, though, because it is a friendship quilt
  • Nosegay: top complete
  • Pointillist Palette 4: Night
  • QA Challenge Quilt: need to fuse the parts and rubber stamp the words.
  • See: started in a David Walker class. Needs fusing, stitching on of fused pieces and quilting
  • Self Portrait from Pamela Allen class
  • Serendipity Puzzle: on the design wall now. Five more blocks to piece.
  • Sharon’s quilt: blocks must be sewn together. After Serendipity Puzzle I will finish it. I don’t want a wedding quilt to be hanging around when a baby is due
  • Solid Star Friendship Quilt: need more friends so they can make stars for me in solids with black
  • Spiderweb: foundation pieced project, still piecing. Need to create the templates for the border blocks
  • The Tarts Come to Tea: need inspiration. Improvisational quilts are not the same experience when you do them alone
  • Thoughts on Dots: top complete
  • Women’s Work 2: needs focus.

Just for fun, here are the quilts on my mind. In some cases I have purchased fabric, but no sewing has been done, so they are not yet UFOs.

  • Denyse Schmidt Chocolate Boxes: see the post from August 11, 2006 to see the fabrics I will use.
Choloate Box detail
Choloate Box detail

This a pattern that can be purchased from Quiltworks Northwest.

  • San Mateo County Fair Dot quilt
  • Paper pieced Nativity scene: I downloaded this pattern when it was free a few years ago and have never gotten up the energy to be as organized as I need to be to make this, but I still want to make it. You can find the pattern at Paper
  • Interlocking triangles #4: love the techniques and have at least one, if not two, idea[s] for more
  • Dot quilt with inset circles a la Ruth McDowell: more uses for dots and a good exercise in piecing
  • Feathered Star dot quilt from Summer issue of Quilts & More: more use for dots
  • Cross quilt: totally scrappy except for middle and background. I would also like this to be a handwork project that I can carry along with me.
  • Some kind of pink quilt with all the pink fabric I have been buying
  • Colorblocks 3: I want to use this pattern from Sandy Bonsib, but have silk fabric with a lucious sheen instead of the regular cottons. Background will be cotton sateen.
  • I Spy quilt for DS: hexagons and many of the triangles are cut. I just have to start piecing them. St. JCN comes to the rescue as she cut a zillion of the pieces.
  • Garden Quilt: I have been collecting photos and patterns of interesting flowers for years and have always wanted to make some kind of garden or flower quilt.
  • Jack’s Chain: I saw a quilt of this pattern years and years ago and have always wanted to make one.